When does your child need braces, do you know the signs? Don’t worry, we will help you along the way! The great thing about being a member of the Hardy Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics family is that you have a pediatric dentist AND an orthodontist on-site for your child’s needs. Dr. T.C. Hardy can assess when your child needs braces. At the early ages of 2 or 3 we can begin to see “bad bites” starting to form in children. Through a collaborative effort between Dr. Nam and Dr. T.C. Hardy we can monitor your child’s development and take early steps to help reduce the need for or length of time of future orthodontic treatment.
Hardy Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics is made up of Dr. T.C. Hardy who specializes in orthodontics and Dr. Nam (his wife) who specializes in dentistry. Dr. Hardy works in both traditional and ceramic braces as well as Invisalign and Incognito braces. He has adult patients and adolescent patients and works closely with his wife who is a pediatric dentist. She provides oral health care for infants, children, adolescents and individuals with special needs. Dr. Hardy and Dr. Nam work together in their shared office to take care of infants and children and make sure that all of their dental and orthodontic needs are met, as the two areas usually go hand in hand.
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends children see a dentist for an exam within the first year of life or within the first 6 months of the first tooth erupting in the mouth. At our office, Dr. Nam will provide a free infant dental exam from a “knee-to-knee” position, meaning the child can sit comfortably on your lap. She gently exams the child’s teeth with a soft toothbrush and mirror. This early-child exam is to detect any irregularities in teeth position and to predict how teeth will erupt into a child’s mouth. It is also to prevent cavities, as 1 in 4 children already have cavities before the age of 5. Because Dr. Hardy works closely with Dr. Nam, they will be able to save you time and money from avoiding unnecessary dental work before orthodontic treatment occurs. (That’s one of the benefits of having a pediatric dentist and orthodontist in the same office!)
Once your baby has grown and progressed to about age 7 or 8, the American Association of Orthodontics recommends that they have their first orthodontic appointment. If you have been bringing your child to Dr. Nam, she will already be informed about your child’s mouth and teeth and will easily be able to work with Dr. Hardy to determine if your child needs braces. The reason for such an early examination? To prevent the progression of orthodontic issues with prompt treatment. Some of these early problems can include: underbite, crossbite, crowding teeth, difficulty chewing or biting, early or irregular loss of baby teeth, abnormal meeting of the teeth, and jaws that are not proportional to the face. When these types of problems are left untreated, they can become more severe over time, causing lengthy and complicated treatment when your child is an adolescent. Early detection and correction is vital for good health and will usually save your child from a harder experience with braces as an adolescent.
Although it is suggested that a child have their first orthodontic appointment between 7 and 8 years old, most children will not actually need treatment until they are about 11 years old. Choosing to have orthodontic work for your child before adolescence can help monitor the progress of incoming teeth and the progress of facial and jaw development. (For some children, this will reduce or eliminate the need to have jaw surgery.) Orthodontic work at an early age can also help guide teeth into an ideal position, cutting down on the length of time braces will be needed. There is a lower risk for future impacted teeth and of permanent tooth extractions because the teeth have been guided into place correctly with early orthodontic treatment.
Like with any adult or adolescent, a child cares how they look and how confident they are around others. Having a beautiful smile will give them a boost of confidence in school and with their peers, and they will more likely want to share their smiles with others. If braces are needed as an adolescent, their braces time can be reduced as a result of early orthodontic care. This is especially helpful during a time when kids are growing more self-conscious of themselves as teenagers. Schedule your appointment with Hardy Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics by calling (720) 887-6003 to see if your child needs dental or orthodontic care.